“Globalizing” GrantCraft

The European Foundation Centre and the Foundation Center are committed to making GrantCraft “go global.” But how does this commitment translate to strategy and action? This summer, the cross-Atlantic GrantCraft team met face to face to begin hammering out some of the nitty-gritty of what this global GrantCraft truly looks like. 

What’s the current status?

GrantCraft has always had users based in countries outside the U.S. and Canada. This year we shipped materials to Denmark and Belgium. Our web site had visitors from 175 countries in 2011. And in 147 countries, we had more than one visitor (yes, GrantCraft users in Togo, Laos, and Uzbekistan: you are not alone!).  But over the last three years, users outside the U.S. and Canada never represented more than 30 percent of our total web site visitors.

What lies ahead?

In our recent meetings, we discussed the challenges and practicalities involved in reaching out to global audiences beyond North America and plan to focus on three key strategies:

  1. Develop new resources that consciously target either global or regional audiences
  2. Contextualize existing resources to suit GrantCraft’s new, broader audiences
  3. Continue to promote and translate existing materials

Our vision is to have a diverse community of grantmakers that draws on the practical wisdom embodied in diverse, global experiences. But catering to a diverse audience of practitioners has its challenges. Practices from diverse realities may inspire but they can also confuse. Where does global learning stop making sense and where is specificity required?  Is it fundamentally different for a program officer at a Russian foundation to say “no” to a local grantee, compared to how staff at a foundation in Baltimore rejects an application from a community organization, or can they draw on similar wisdom? Are insights based on the experience with collaboration with the private sector in Germany and the UK — undoubtedly different among them — relevant and stimulating for foundations in Italy? And, while philanthropy in China and Egypt may be profoundly different compared to the Netherlands, are not the basic aspects of a project assessment pretty much the same in both countries? And what about the guides themselves? Will existing GrantCraft materials fit the needs of these audiences? Can you actually make a GrantCraft guide for a global audience?

We think our GrantCraft guides will go a long way because they are not prescriptive. But in some cases we will need to add (different) context, and some guides may require an addendum or new examples. All the same, there will be guides that can be used and translated as they are. In Brussels,  we’ll initially look to add more European context to  guides such as those on Funder Collaboratives, Effective Exits, and Funding Advocacy.

The opportunity — and the imperative — to increase and globalize our audience is significant.  To do so we need to look at what works, which is why we are asking for your help! Wherever you are, let us know what you like about GrantCraft (and areas for improvement), and how you think these resources can be best made useful to colleagues in your country.